Photo Credit-IG: Spiritual Enlightenment Quotes

The term “Self Care” has an association with bubble baths or indulgence in material comforts. Self Focus can sound selfish. However, Self Care and Self Focus are what make us thrive as individuals and is much more rooted in self empowerment and the reality in which we create.

For many of us, Self Focus sounds like a foreign idea, because its hard to think about ourselves.  Some of us have no idea what we want, how we feel, or, even, who we are. Many of us feel pulled in a million different directions with day to day life. Plus, the idea of making a change sounds terrifying. I was stuck in this mindset and pattern of thinking for many years.
I am a co-parenting mother of a seven year-old insurance/legal professional.  I graduated law school by the skin of my teeth in 2013, on the heals of my divorce from my son’s father. My son was one years-old. I had no immediate family in the state and had to juggle much on my own. I am a two time bar exam failure, third time success story as of 2020.
Beyond my failed marriage, I never had failed at anything in my life before the bar. I was a model student and fantastic employee. I worked hard and loved to learn. Failing the bar was a devastating blow to my self esteem and confidence. I knew the law well. I taught most of my study group concepts they struggled to understand. How could this have happened to me? Not to mention, the bar exam is only offered twice a year, and my legal assistant job, at that time, was barely paying the bills. My life had been on hold for the bar for over a year, and I was in no better position than when I sat for it the first time.
In 2015 I took a job in insurance for better pay and a change of landscape. I took to it quickly and excelled. It didn’t take long before I got bored, but comfortable.
From 2015 to 2019, I lived for 5 o’clock, Happy Hour and vacation time. I distracted myself from my feelings of dissatisfaction (among other things) with anything that could keep me preoccupied.  This started a period of my life where I simply lost passion, including for law. I climbed the corporate latter and experienced a lot of wins, but I felt a little dead inside.
It hit me in the Summer of 2019 that I was essentially one position away from “topping out” of my current area of insurance. The bar exam was never far from my mind, but the idea of even planning how to embark on that monstrous voyage- seemed impossible. However, I knew I would need to think about what next, sooner rather than later. As my child was getting older, and my circumstances were changing, I needed to think about expansion and what that looked like.
In the summer of 2019, I started to take baby steps toward the bar exam. I found some bar prep materials on Amazon, and a friend donated a lion-share of her prep materials upon successfully passing. At first, I didn’t really tell anyone that I was doing this- especially not my employer. The embarrassment of failing it again, and facing the entire world was of upmost avoidance. I studied in the evenings and on weekends.
Fate presented me with an opportunity to go to my last stop, in my realm of insurance. I am a remote or “work from home” employee, and just so happened to be in the office one day for a systems training, when I heard of a former colleague of mine was giving his notice.
The search for his replacement had not yet begun. I would get the first bite at the apple. The role my colleague was vacating, was the role for which I got into the insurance gambit, albeit my last stop.
The system training ended. I chatted with a few of my coworkers wherein I heard the news. I walked right into my old manager’s office, asked for the job, detailing my plan to take the bar exam. Therefore, suggesting that I do insurance related legal work for my company.
My secret, was no longer a secret. The pressure was on now. I had to get this done and it was going to take everything I had in me to do it. I have a very demanding job and I am a mom. I tapped into the resources in and around me. I woke up early and stayed up late.  From August 2019 until February 2020, I lived and breathed Bar Exam Prep Materials. I replaced television with Torts lectures and Facebook scrolling with Evidence Outlines.
The process of focusing on the one thing that I knew would give me the key to create the life I wanted for myself, was one of purification and cleansing. Bad habits and distractions fell away or had to take a back seat. I had to be highly diligent with my time. No, left my lips more than it ever had before. Social niceties for the sake of nice became unimportant. Further, I had to recognize the people in my life that took more than they gave, and what that meant for me and our relationship. It showed me the ways I gave to get love, and how that in turn caused me to deeply resent people for not living up to my insatiable expectations, which caused disruption in my life.
Whatever I lost in those months of study, I gained back ten fold. Focusing on what I needed to do for myself to create a life I don’t have to escape from, was nothing more than a great act of self care.
Whatever your “bar exam” is, in your life, now is the time to go towards it. Whenever we set a new intention, start a new path, or embark on a new idea, the universe echoes back to us. The echo can come in the way of a redirection or opportunity. You could experience synchronicity and strokes of luck.  You will never know unless you try.
What if you dont know what your “bar exam” is? Now is a time to figure that out. What lights a fire inside of you? The thing that you do, that some call work, and,  you feel like its play, that is your purpose in this collective consciousness.
Its easy to tell ourselves that we can’t do it, we are too old, or we have too many responsibilities bogging us down. That’s not true and a lie we tell ourselves to keep ourselves stuck. The world needs your light more than ever before, so go towards your passion or sit with yourself to find what that it is.


Below is a list of behaviors of Codependency as relayed by Mental Health America.  I added some personal notes to this list and is no way exhaustive.

• An exaggerated sense of responsibility for the actions of others.

• A tendency to confuse love and pity, with the tendency to “love” people they can pity and rescue.

• A tendency to do more than their share, all of the time.

• A tendency to become hurt when people don’t recognize their efforts.

• An unhealthy dependence on relationships. The co-dependent will do anything to hold on to a relationship to avoid the feeling of abandonment.

• An extreme need for approval and recognition.

• A sense of guilt when asserting themselves. A feeling that your needs and feelings don’t matter or are less significant.

• A compelling need to control others-as a way to avoid abandonment.

• Lack of trust in self and/or others.

• Fear of being abandoned or alone.

• Difficulty identifying feelings.

• Rigidity/difficulty adjusting to change.

• Problems with intimacy/boundaries.

• Chronic anger.

• Lying/dishonesty.

• Poor communication.

• Difficulty making decisions.

I am a Codependent in recovery.  I have engaged in all of the above behaviors, and some not listed. I have been in recovery for a little over a year, and continuously see areas of growth for myself. However, I have achieved a level of confidence and self esteem that has escaped me much of my life. I hope to help anyone struggling with these issues and encourage others to seek the help they need.

Below is my personal struggle with Codependency and how I got to where I am today.  It wasn’t easy and still requires a desire to learn, learn more, honesty, self awareness, and continually practice compassion with self-compassion. Daily, I am presented with choices- a choice reflective of my growth or reflective of what is no longer serving me.

Before I Discovered I was Codependent

Until the end of 2017, I struggled with finding peace and contentment in my life.  I kept searching for the next relationship, friendship, project, habit, job, life path or belief system to give me what seemed to continuously allude me-self love. On the outset, I really did not know that self love was what I was searching for or missing. Yet in the process realized self love and self acceptance was really the solution to my struggles and deep healing.

Like many Codependents, I was raised in an environment lacking the nurturing and love that I needed.  I was the product of many generations of emotional, sexual, and psychological abuse. It is easy to make my parents the villains, but they did the best they could with the skill sets they have. However, I am not saying understanding this, excuses abuse and mistreatment, but understanding that it was mostly unintentional, helped me have compassion and therefore self compassion. It helped me embrace the yin/yang or light/darkness that makes us all. Part of my healing was forgiving my parents and mourning the childhood I deserved and was deprived of.

Self Loathing

From a young age, either directly or indirectly, the message communicated to me was that my needs, feelings, and wants were insignificant. In order to survive, I had to shrink down and put everyone else ahead of me. I did not have the freedom to be a care free child. If I loved myself, than I mattered-so I never learned how to love myself.

Along with an inner belief that what I need, want, and feel is not important, as a coping mechanism to deal with trauma, I learned at a young age to disassociate and ignore myself. I have an ability to “check out” and detach from chaos ensuing around me. I have an ability to push through it and hold it together even if inside I am falling apart.

I am the person who functions best under pressure and can still function when many crumble in the face of a crisis.

I often find myself very detached from my feelings due to these skill sets.  Situations arise and I will feel strong emotion that I cannot quite label. I may have conflict, an uncomfortable situation that really hurts me, yet, I am not be able to identify what really hurt me or even recognize that I am feeling emotion about it at all. I’ll even blame something totally unrelated for my feelings.

This lack of self-awareness or ignoring self, as I call it,  created major problems for me.  Ignoring self did not mean my needs, wants and feelings just went away.  I acted in ways to assert myself in often very manipulative and passive aggressive ways-mostly in a very unconscious unaware way I was doing this.

Some examples:

  • I would start an argument over something petty or not really an issue to be able to have a fight to resolve my feelings and emotions inside a relationship/friendship about something else.
  • I would manipulate a situation to create a fight or push the person to do what I wanted/needed without having to assert myself.
  • I would lie about how I really felt,  what I wanted, and needed.
  • I felt guilty for having wants, needs and feelings, so rarely asserted myself or make excuses as to why I couldn’t assert myself.
  • I would lash out in anger out of resentment for feeling unheard or acknowledged.

I also held an inner belief that I was not lovable and not worthy of love. At the core I hated myself. Unconsciously, I felt I had to prove my value and worthiness of love -since I didn’t see my own value. I would morph myself into or do what other people seemed to want or seemed to approve of or accept. I lived and died by others’ opinion or approval of me.

Some examples:

  • I would lie about liking a band, movie, book, TV show, having an experience or some other thing to create a false sense of connection with others to gain acceptance and love. **This was one of the most uncomfortable things to admit and acknowledge but huge for my growth.
  • I would over-give and over extend myself. I had to prove my usefulness to others for them to love me. Being me wasn’t enough. **I still struggle with this and have to check in with myself a lot to not slip into this.
  • I had poor boundaries and did not respect other people’s boundaries. If someone said no, I’d keep asking or push them to give into what I wanted. I had a really hard time saying no or explaining my reasoning for saying no as well or that I didn’t have to explain myself at all.
  • I could not just listen to friends vent or allow them to speak about their troubles. I had to give the best advice and “fix” their problem. I often would get very invested and attached to solving other people’s problems. I would even get upset if they did not take my advice or let me fix the problem for them.
  • I would resist making decisions or taking control of my life out of fear of being rejected or not accepted by others for my choices.
  • I apologized constantly-almost for my very existence.  I put myself down and dismissed myself a lot. Self-effacing humor was my go to in cultivating friendships.
  • I engaged in things in an addictive way- whether it be substances, working out, shopping, actual work, new habits, relationships, and lifestyles to detach from my feelings of being unlovable and/or prove how lovable I was. Nobody could possibly want to be around sober me or find me “enough.”

I held a very deep fear of abandonment and constantly sought out love in literally everything, but within myself. I would do anything to prevent abandonment-even self sabotaging good relationships/friendships.

Some examples:

  • I tolerated poor treatment and being taken advantage of. I stayed in relationships and friendships that were abusive and depleting. I was a total doormat.
  • I pushed people away and sabotaged positive change.
  • I would be passive aggressive instead of saying “no,” or hint at things I wanted or needing-expecting people to read between the lines.
  • I didn’t trust people and always suspected a false or ulterior motive.
  • I would choose relationships and friendships that were “projects,” where I was going to fix this person and make them “better.” If I was in some way superior, they would never abandon me.
  • Any change would set off my fear of abandonment and I would try to control others/situations to not allow the change or convince someone change was not needed even if it was.

Rock Bottom

At the end of 2017, I hit my rock bottom. I was severely depressed and suicidal. I was divorced and had one failed relationship after the other. I depended on alcohol or other substances to socialize or relax. I could barely function or care for my child. My work was slipping.  I was teetering on financial ruin. My anxiety was so bad I could not eat. I could not sleep.  I threw up almost every day. I was loosing weight rapidly. I did not know where I ended and other people began.

I remember one instance where I made a mistake at my job. I worked myself into a panic attack one night over the possibility of getting fired (not even a real chance of that happening) and it took me days to stop shaking and calm down.  Overall, my world seemed to be crumbling around me.  I knew something had to change.

The First Step Forward

I started therapy. This was not my first trip to see a therapist.  As a young adult I sought therapy for anxiety/depression multiple times.  I usually would go long enough to start to see positive change in my life and then would stop treatment.

At first I was going to therapy every week and was referred to a psychiatrist that I was seeing once a month.  I was able to get medication that helped ease my symptoms and my doctor exposed me to holistic methods that helped me as well.  Eventually, in addition to this, my therapist referred me to a therapy group for children of narcissistic families I attended for a year.

The therapy group was a huge part of my growth. I saw a mirror image of myself reflected back at me every week.  I heard the same narrative I knew so well repeated back to me over and over again. The self doubt. The self limiting beliefs. The self hatred. The fear of abandonment. The role I played in the whole dynamic.  I understood on a very deep level what I was missing in my life. The actions that were needed seemed so clear viewing “myself” outside of “myself” in that way. I needed to learn to love and embrace myself-all and all.

“All You Need Is Love”

At the beginning of 2018, I read Codependent No More. How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring For Yourself by Melody Beattie.  It brought about earth shattering realization, major change and shifts in my life. Finishing the book was my ultimate “Ah-ha” moment.  It was a pivotal point in my awakening.  I realized what was “wrong” and why things had gone the way they have in my life. I realized I had the power to make change.

I began devouring other self help books. I remember reading Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now and A New Earth and feeling that I had unlocked a significant clue to my anxiety/depression issues. I constantly lived in my head. The idea of not thinking, being mindful, and being in the present was a totally foreign concept for me. I remember often in social situations, I couldn’t make eye contact or even speak, paralyzed by the idea I would say something “wrong.”

I cared way too much about everything, everyone,  and what others thought of me.  The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck  by Mark Manson helped me see that the less I cared-the happier and less burdened I felt. Constantly comparing myself to others was leading to my own dissatisfaction. Also when you truly love yourself and have confidence the level of fucks you give dwindles significantly.

I also started listening to Alan Watts lectures. I read his books along with Deepak Chopra. Rick Hanson’s The Enlightened Brain-The Neuroscience of Awakening was an extremely helpful audiobook filled with guided meditations on healing past trauma.

I went through a period of isolation and only spent time around people I could be totally vulnerable with. I had a lot of friends I partied with then, but few genuine close friendships. I took a break from substances that could alter my state of being, which included alcohol and even caffeine- my friendships shifted significantly. I went through a period of loneliness as I shifted and made new connections. I would be lying if I said it was easy. Idle time was always torture for me.

I spent a lot of time sitting in uncomfortable emotions instead of trying to escape them. At first it was really hard, but I had to learn to sit in my emotions and acknowledge them. I had never done this before. I had always reached for something or someone to take the pain away. It was a lot easier to distract myself than sitting in discomfort.

I started to meditate every day and also started going to a group meditation once a week. I worked out more and started taking better care of myself. I was more mindful of what I put into my body-whether that be food or surroundings.

I stopped saying “yes” when I meant “no.” I quit taking on too much work. I started to realize I had no control over anyone but myself. If I felt mistreated or felt victimized, I started to realize the power I had in the situation. I was choosing to be a victim. The idea I was powerless was a lie. I had no obligation to engage with someone or something that was hurtful- including toxic family.

Over time, my perspective shifted. I learned to appreciate myself. I learned to love myself. I learned to pay attention to what I wanted and needed regardless of anyone else. I realized it was okay if people did not accept me or love me. I cut off toxic relationships and toxic people in my life. I set boundaries. The love I had for myself was the only love that really mattered and when you truly love yourself-people love and respect you too.

Instead of looking at myself with harsh judgment and criticism- I learned my story gave me a sense of compassion and understanding of others. To accept what is and not clinging to how I want things to be-acknowledging my feelings around it and how expectation and failure to accept what is created disappointment. Learning the power of non-attachment. Learning that every moment I have another opportunity to do better.


I am far from perfect. I catch myself slipping on my self care and engaging in some of the example behaviors typical of Codependency. Dating is a tricky balance of respecting my needs/wants and someone else’s. Finding the courage to say no sometimes is a littler harder than I want to admit. Being brutally honest and self aware is where I find the power to keep improving and letting go of what isn’t good for me. Healing is not linear. Also, not judging myself too harshly when I don’t make a choice towards my growth and what that has taught me in the process.

I am no mental health professional, just someone who has done a lot of healing and growth. What has helped me, may not be helpful for others. What resonates for me, may not hold any merit for someone else. Self improvement is not a one size fits all process. Just a continuous commitment to betterment.




January 25th marks the 35th day the federal government has been “shut down.” The reasons behind the shutdown and why it happened in the first place –The SAGA to MAGA.

This is the longest government shutdown in history, aside from the 1995 shutdown of 21 days.  The effects of a government shutdown are immediate, but as more and more time passes, the effects are more and more noticeable to all Americans, not just federal employees missing their paychecks.

As if putting any working American in a position of involuntary servitude is not bad enough (800,000 being effected) a slew of government agencies and programs have had to scale back employees or close up shop due to the shutdown.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has stopped most of its operations, affecting all forms of broadcasting. The Securities and Exchange Commission is currently running on a skeleton crew.  This affects the stock market, which is a major part of our economy.  Investigations into securities violations are being impeded due to short staffing, leaving the door open for predatory practices.

The Environmental Protection Agency, who is tasked with governing the air we breath, is only open to address major health threats and disasters.  The Department of Agriculture has had to close agencies across the country tasked with helping America’s farmers at the county level. America’s farmers are already feeling squeezed due to Chinese tariffs. There are many other government agencies that have had to scale back workers or close due to the shutdown.  Also, many museums and federally funded art galleries have had to close-including the Smithsonian.

Airports around the country have had to limit service due to TSA workers opting out of working for free. If the shutdown continues, Federal Courts may lose funding and will have to postpone adjudication of part of their caseload.  Immigration hearings have been cancelled in mass since the shutdown began-upwards of 42,000.

A government without funding, cannot continue to function. 38 million people are looking at losing food stamps if the shutdown continues into February. Many rental assistance programs expire in February-over 2 million low-income families will cease to get rental assistance for March and beyond. WIC, a federally funded food assistance program, is only funded through January-affecting as many as 7 million low-income pregnant women if the shutdown continues.

Until the federal government agrees on a budget, the situation will continue to worsen. Shutdowns often cost the government heavily-not just in closing agencies and services. The 16 day shutdown of 2013 cost the federal government over $2 billion in lowered gross domestic product (GDP) and less productivity. Not to mention, lowered confidence by Americans in the federal government is often a direct result of shutdowns- less spending and investments.

The shutdown would have to continue to September to have more severe effects, as many government agencies are funded until then, but let’s hope Congress can agree before it gets even close to that benchmark.

Coming through on an outrageous campaign promise seems way more important to MAGA followers than millions’ ability to eat and have a place to sleep. President Trump has promised to make sure we all get our tax refunds even without a funded government- so there’s that. Too bad the IRS isn’t going to be staffed well enough to be able to field consumer questions or issues.


Photo By Jonathan Lemire

Associate Press- published in the The Spokesman-Review

Massachusetts Senator, Elizabeth Warren, announced her intent to run in the Presidential Election of 2020 on January 31st. Warren is among many Democrats, including Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden, vying for the Democratic nomination to run and potentially boot Donald Trump out of office in 2020.

Warren is a former law school professor and the brainchild behind the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. She has also championed legislation to help loosen the corporate grip on America- a grip that is slowly deteriorating the middle class, increasing poverty.  Her work and policies as Senator have grown her popularity with Democrats, but ill-favor with Republicans.

There are concerns Warren is too divisive to be a successful candidate for 2020. She believes America should be sending more on government infrastructure, where the current administration believes spending should be cut. We currently spend less on infrastructure than any of our world counterparts. Increased spending would create more jobs, but create potential tax hikes. She has been in strong opposition to current administration policies.

Warren advocates returning to the Bush era taxes for the wealthiest of Americans. She also proposes reform of The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)-forcing fair labor practices and reform of production practices that hurt the environment. She also is in heavy opposition to the current administration’s policies on Immigration, especially with our neighbor to the south, Mexico. No Wall under a Warren Presidency.

Elizabeth is an advocate for a single-payer health care system.  The Affordable Care Act is simply not sufficient to address the continuously growing problem of affordable healthcare. Large insurance companies have been in control for far too long- creating the problem.

The Senator is in support of federal Marijuana legalization for medical and recreational purposes. She is also an advocate for access to abortions and supports passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).  The ENDA proposes anti-discrimination measures for homosexuals. She has also called our criminal justice system racist and prejudicial that needs serious reform.

Whether Warren is too divisive to run or not, she is a champion against big business and large corporations having a strong hold on America. She has a deep concern for the consumer and will call our criminal justice system what it is-an unfair and racist system.  She will push for the spending and measures needed to make an America where everyone can thrive-not just the wealthy.

There are over fifty candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for the 2020 election. Elizabeth Warren is a very experienced and progressive politician. She would be an excellent candidate for the first female leader of America.



Photo Evan Vucci/ AP posted from The Atlantic

Recently, Congress submitted their Continuing Resolution Bill- essential for funding various departments of the Federal Government. President Trump refused to sign the bill until Congress includes funding for his Border Wall. This refusal has resulted in a partial government shutdown.

The government shutdown will have immediate consequences for many government employees. American workers whom our tax dollars fund for services “non-essential” may not be receiving their paychecks. The shutdown won’t stop there. There is a potential for far more reaching consequences for failing to pass the Continuing Resolution Bill, including hampering domestic and foreign economic relations, lack of funding for many federally funded programs, among other issues.

Historically, most Presidential administrations have experienced partial government shutdowns, including in January 2018. The government also shut down in 2013 when the Senate attempted to utilize the bill as leverage to delay President Obamaʼs Affordable Care Act. The last ditch-effort came after several failed congressional attempts to appeal the legislation.

What is the government arguing about now? Well not really much since Congress is in recess until after the holidays, but mostly the ever-evolving Immigration & Border Security debate. In the last 20 years, people seeking Asylum from Mexican and Central American Countries has grown exponentially, due to instability and rampant corruption in their home countries. Immigrants flood our borders seeking Asylum.

It’s proven to be a daunting process in which Asylum seekers must apply for a hearing to go before an immigration judge who will determine if they qualify under U.S. Policy. The backlog of applications is endless and with few judges, Asylum seekers are housed in detention facilities while they wait their day in court. American tax dollars must fund these detention facilities. These facilities are over-run, understaffed, and overcrowded. In the past few weeks, U.S. border patrol has faced increased public criticism for the deaths of two children in their custody in one of these such facilities.

While President Trump is certainly not the first President to refuse
to sign a funding bill, he’s dug himself into a hole by holding out until Congress approves  appropriation money for his Border Wall.

How is this any different than the previous shutdown under Obama in 2013? The major difference is that Congress voted to pass legislation for President Obamaʼs affordable healthcare act. Our current Congress, currently in Republican majority, has never been able to pass legislation to fund a border wall.

Though promises to follow-through on campaign promises are reasonable expectations for supporters, not all are realistic enough to get majority Congressional support. Several Republicans refuse to publicly endorse the Presidents refusal to sign the bill due to lack of border wall funding. Many are holding out to see how Trumpʼs strategy plays out before making any official public statements of their endorsement.

President Trump knows if he hasn’t been able to find a way to fund the Wall through the congressional majority he currently has, it certainly won’t pass with a freshly elected Democratic lead House. This is quite a gamble for the president and his bid for re-election in 2020. The party that shuts the government down, historically has been penalized by bad publicity- ultimately influencing Congressional incumbents’ elections, especially in swing states and swing districts.

The president has to show he’s dug his heels in for his supporters. However, it is uncertain whether or not his strategy will work.  Government shut-downs have had little to no long standing success in the past. The coming days will be telling of his willingness to compromise. In the meantime, thousands of government workers will continue their jobs without certainty of when they will be compensated.

The SAGA to MAGA continues…


Portrait of a Native American “Big Head” Library of Congress/Edward S. Curtis

Back in 1999, Patrick Murphy was charged and convicted of the brutal murder and mutilation of his girlfriend’s ex-partner in McIntosh County, Oklahoma.  Murphy, as well as his victim, were members of the Muscogee Creek Nation. The murder took place on the Creek Nation Reservation.  Murphy confessed to the crime and was subsequently convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to death by McIntosh County.

Not unusual to death row cases, Murphy exhausted his appeals, stays, and continuances-landing his case before the Tenth Circuit Federal Court.  Murphy’s plea to the Tenth Circuit was a final plea for his life. His argument being one of tribal sovereignty and a question or jurisdiction. Who had proper jurisdiction over Murphy and his crime?  Murphy’s lawyer argued that McIntosh County lacked jurisdiction to try and convict Murphy as his crime was committed on Native American land. Only the Federal Government could try and convict him, not local authorities, under Federal law.  Murphy would also be immune from the death penalty as a Native American.


Photo of Patrick Murphy Associated Press

The Creek Nation was formed in 1866 encompassing 3 million acres and 1.8 million citizens, including most of the city of Tulsa- Oklahoma’s second largest city. Oklahoma became a state in 1907.  Even with achieving statehood in 1907, the reservation was never formally dismantled. Essentially, the state instituted its own laws and taxation completely irreverent of the Creek Nation. The state has operated in this area without challenge for the last century.

Over the summer, a panel of three judges for the Tenth Circuit found in favor of tribal sovereignty.  The court ruled that since the Creek Nation was never formally dismantled by Federal Courts or Federal Law, McIntosh County had no jurisdiction over Murphy. Murphy’s case was reversed and remanded for a new trial in Federal court. The basis of their ruling was that the Creek Nation still held the land and legal authority over it, not the state of Oklahoma. The case went before the U.S. Supreme Court this past Tuesday for oral argument.  The Supreme Court’s ruling is pending finite resolution. The Supreme Court will issue an opinion in the coming months.

The Tenth Circuit’s ruling, if upheld, has far more reaching consequences than asylum for Murphy, but affects taxation, criminal justice, ordinances, traffic laws, and how the state government has functioned in this area. Oklahoma law in essence does not apply. This ruling also takes many violent criminal convictions and overturns them, drastically reduces penalty, and sentencing for thousands of incarcerated individuals. Since the ruling, many have appealed their criminal convictions on jurisdictional grounds. The ruling also essentially made half of Oklahoma an Indian Reservation. The state of Oklahoma is scrambling-begging review of America’s highest court to overturn the Tenth Circuit.


The Lawyer for the state of Oklahoma, Lisa Blatt, stated in oral argument that, “Every piece of paper, record, book, dollar bill or coin or property, their buildings, their furniture, their desks — everything was taken away from the tribes…” The state of Oklahoma essentially took control without any formal legal action.   In their arrogance, was there a failure to codify and preserve this seizure? Was the intimidation and oppression of an entire class of people enough to maintain this control for over a century?

If upheld, the ruling is a long time reckoning  of  humble quiet victory for a people forced out of their heritage and way of life.  Will America finally atone and penance for hundreds of years of oppression and genocide? This ruling  demonstrates a new look and understanding of Native American tribal land with many implications-not all so grand.  However, it is opening the door for discussion on tribal land and who has proper jurisdiction over it in a way never approached before. The state of Oklahoma is fearful to lose control they have maintained for over a century.  The threat and fear of the state may be misstated and grossly exaggerated. Tribal leaders already work with local authorities in this area and plan no disruption.  If only the Andrew Jacksons and Settlers of early American found it within them to be so cooperative.


The 2018 Midterm Election results were promising for America no matter what side of the aisle you stand. The election made history with high voter turn-out. Members of the LGBT community took office, as well as women and representatives of varying ethnic and religious backgrounds took office for the first time. With Democrats taking control of the House of Representatives, there is hope that needed legislation could be brought to the forefront that otherwise may not be addressed under current administration. There is much ground we still need to cover, but there is hope.

America made history in the 2018 Mid-Terms:

  • 113 million Americans voted, equating to 48% of the eligible voting population casting their ballot November 6th. America has not seen such high turn-out at the Midterms in nearly 50 years.
  • Colorado elected the first openly gay man as governor. Oregon re-elected an openly bisexual woman as governor who was originally elected in 2016.
  • Kansas elected the first Native American woman to congress who is also Kansas’ first openly gay representative. New Mexico also elected their first Native American woman to congress.
  • Tennessee elected their first female senator to office by a close margin.
  • Texas elected two Hispanic congresswomen for the first time.
  • North Dakota elected their first female governor.
  • Maine elected their first female governor.
  • Guam elected their first female governor
  • Connecticut for the first time elected an African American woman to Congress.
  • Massachusetts also elected an African American woman to Congress for the first time.
  • Iowa elected their first female representatives to the House of Representatives.
  • Michigan elected the first Muslim woman to Congress along with Minnesota electing a Muslim Palestinian-American congresswoman.
  • New York elected the youngest congresswoman ever at 29 years old.

Nearly a century ago, woman did not have the right to vote, let alone take political office. With many women taking the highest office in their states, it is a clear sign America is evolving and appreciating women equally as their male counterparts.  Not only was the gender barrier broken in many states, but religious, sexual orientation and barriers in ethnic were broken as well.

A Democrat controlled house essentially ushers in a more equal system. It is also promising in regards to healthcare and wages.

The Affordable Care Act is flatly insufficient.  Many Americans still go without health insurance  and basic care. Citizens utilizing The Affordable Care Act also do not have access to vision or dental coverage.  President Trump has also allowed states to make exceptions for what is provided under the federal Affordable Care Act legislation. Prescription drugs are also prohibitively expensive for many that need them the most. The freshly elected plan on pushing aggressive legislation to help curb the cost of pharmaceuticals. Also, with a Democrat controlled house, there is hope for legislation to open the door for vision and dental coverage to Obamacare subscribers as well as expanding coverage as a whole.

The current federal minimum wage is $7.25/hour, which is approximately $15,000 a year. For the vast majority of Americans, this is not enough to make a living necessitating many to work multiple jobs. Democrats have promised to raise the minimum wage- proposing an increase to $15/hr.  Democrats also want to propose paid leave for families for medical reasons.  America is currently the only major world power that does not offer such paid leave.

The Midterm Election results demonstrate a move for progressive change. The diversity that makes up the U.S. is more represented and recognized. Also, there is opportunity for growth in the areas of healthcare and wage earnings for citizens.  Let us hope the promise for change of this win comes through.


As of October 17, 2018 recreational marijuana became legal in all of Canada.  The Canadian legislature passed the Cannabis Act, as an effort by Justin Trudeau, to keep marijuana out of the hands of Canadian youth.  Citizens 19 years old, 18 in two provinces, can legally buy marijuana from federally licensed producers and retailers.  Plans to pardon criminal convictions for possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana are underway.

Why is it significant our neighbors to the north have legalized the devil’s lettuce? Canada is the second nation in the world to legalize recreational marijuana on a federal level. Canada is the first major world economy to legalize recreational use.  This move makes Canada the world’s largest legal marijuana marketplace. It is expected to bring Canada $4 billion in revenue.


This step by the Canadian legislature is a glimmer of hope for federal legalization in the U.S. Nine states in the U.S. and the District of Columbia have already passed recreational marijuana legislation.  To date, 30 states permit medical use of marijuana in some varying degree. With the current status of marijuana in the U.S., legal marijuana sales brought in $9 billion in revenue in 2017.


This is a promising sign that the U.S. is not far behind. Per a Gallop poll conducted in October 2017, 64% of those polled supported legalization of recreational use of marijuana.  Both sides of the aisle are trending towards legalization. With revenue from marijuana continuing to grow, and the world stage opening its doors for recreational use, it is only a matter of time we step up to the plate.

As hammered home many times in our blog, please cast your vote in the upcoming Mid-term elections.  Legal marijuana sales can bring revenue to our nation, healing and pain relief for many, and exoneration of charges related to possession, production, and sale of marijuana.




Photo by Evan Vucci

originally published: https://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/hip-hop/8479571/kanye-west-white-house-donald-trump-quotes

On October 11, 2018 the famed rapper and producer, Kayne West, made a visit to the Oval Office. This episode is one of many demonstrating his support for Donald Trump.  The visit has been widely publicized and left many scratching their heads at Kayne’s seemingly undying support of the 45th president.  The rapper delivered a disjointed soliloquy to the Oval Office and White House Press Pool last Wednesday.  The 10 minute speech has elicited much criticism, however, the rapper did mention key issues for America that demand reform; ranging from police brutality, prison reform and mental health.

West discussed the constitutionally upheld “Stop and Frisk” practice in effect across the country among law enforcement. “Stop and Frisk” allows law enforcement to detain individuals based on reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. The practice is somewhat problematic and can give police far branching authority in detaining citizens and in conducting personal searches. Often, minority populations feel the brunt of this practice when used with overreaching authority and brutality. The practice is a part of general distrust for police officers among Americans.

Last Wednesday’s speech also touched on the problematic 13th amendment to the Constitution-abolishing slavery- albeit preserving it in the form of incarceration. In 2013 over 2.3 million adults were incarcerated across America. With the influx of corporate prisons, this population continues to rise and allows for corruption with the ability for profit.

Kayne also discussed mental health issues and creating jobs. Under the Reagan administration government funded mental health institutions were dismantled. This move has lead to growing homelessness and crime across America. West also mentioned expanding  employment opportunities, specifically in the city of Chicago.

Ignoring the content of Kayne’s speech, what seems to be most appalling is his support for a politician that garners support from white supremacists and the religious right. Political ideologies aligned with these groups often profess bigoted and hateful rhetoric. Kayne has also made statements on race and slavery that are enough to rise eyebrows and question his motive to align himself with the president.

One argument for West’s support of Trump could be about financial motive over true political support. President Trump is one of the wealthiest individuals in America and is supported by a voter base that favors tax breaks for the rich. The wealthiest often benefit the most from fiscally conservative economic policies. Kayne is an A-List celebrity worth $160 Million. The Elite marry the Elite.

However,  the character of the soliloquy seems to be an almost laughable placation to Trump’s insatiable ego and attention seeking addiction. It contains unapologetic praise of Trump and a belief in him to “Make America Great Again.” It speaks a language Trump understands- where he is the center of the universe and ruler of the free world. Kayne even finished his speech with a big hug for ole sir Cheeto.


Photo Cred: https://www.cnn.com/videos/entertainment/2016/12/13/kanye-west-trump-tower-nr.cnn

Kayne’s support of Trump honestly seems unbelievable. Although Kayne purported to not have voted for Hilary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, Kayne donated thousands to Hilary Clinton’s presidential campaign.  Many of the topics he discussed in his speech were issues that don’t plague most of the voter base of the Republican Party. There seems to be conflict in ideology here.

Given the character of his speech and prior support of Clinton, it begs the question-Is Kayne’s support of Trump really genuine? Is his alignment with Trump some kind of political genius to effectuate change on issues that are impacting millions of Americans? Is he using his position of wealth and status to open discussion on these issues? We can only hope so. Only Kayne really knows….

As reported by NBC, here are some of Kayne’s most choice phrases during his visit.

  • On voting for Trump: “My dad and my mom separated so there was not a lot of male energy in my home and also I’m married to a family where, you know, there’s not a lot of male energy. It’s beautiful though.”
  • On Trump’s support from African-Americans: “Blacks really get caught up in the idea of racism over the idea of industry.”
  • On racism: “Racism can’t control me.”
  • On his mental health: “I wasn’t bipolar, I had sleep deprivation that could cause dementia.”
  • On his speech: “You are tasting a fine wine that has multiple notes to it.”
  • On Trump wanting to implement stop-and-frisk in Chicago: “Well, I feel stop-and-frisk does not help the relationship with people in the city.”
  • On bringing jobs and tax breaks to Chicago: “We’re going to need to get a few breaks to be able to have some places in my hometown of Chicago … where we can create some factories. I think it would be cool for them be Trump factories because he’s a master of industry, he’s a master builder. I think it would be cool to have Yeezy ideation centers.”
  • When asked about Chicago’s gun violence: “The problem is the legal guns. Legal guns is [sic] the problem.”
  • When asked about a possible presidential run: “Let’s stop worrying about the future, all we really have is today.”
  • On Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan: “Another thing is black people have a problem with the word again … because time is a myth.”
  • On being in the Oval Office: “Oh, it is good energy in this.”

No matter what side of the aisle you stand or whether you like Kayne West, some of the ideas mentioned in his speech Wednesday need to be brought to the table.  Even if it is confusing and baffling, the implication could open doors for positive change.


Photo Cred: Alex Garland

On October 1st, The United Nations released a report on climate change that paints a portrait of dire consequences. The current health of our planet is tipping out of balance. Serious policy change is needed to sustain our ecosystem and propagate life as we know it. The report suggests a crisis as early as 2040.

A group of scientists appointed by the United Nations, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), raise concerns that due to carbon dioxide emissions, the earth’s atmosphere will warm up by as much as 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 Celsius) from pre-industrial levels of 1850 by the year 2040 if current emissions continue as projected. Environmentalist experts believe 3.6 degrees is where symptoms of climate change will be critically evident. The report was compiled of findings from 91 scientists from 40 countries who analyzed 6,000 scientific studies.

Now a few degrees doesn’t seem that serious, but the warmer the atmosphere, the hotter the planet and the longer the heat waves.  2001 to 2010 was the hottest decade on record.  Higher temperatures create a score of side effects.

At a 2.7 degree hike, there will be an increase in droughts leading to water shortages. Another major side effect of hotter temperatures are wild fires.  Shore lines will also rise due to melting polar ice. A warmer atmosphere can lead to increased insect life, spreading disease. Coral reefs are dying due to increased acidity and warmer oceans.  Coral reefs are a major part of the ocean ecosystem providing a significant food source and regulates much of the world ecosystem. The IPCC report indicates mass sections of coral reefs dying off by 2040 if current levels go unchecked.

The IPCC report projects serious ramifications. The report recommends cutting decrease in carbon dioxide emissions by 45% to prevent the 2.7 increase we’re headed for and doomsday of 3.6 degrees.  This would require serious tax increases on carbon and coal. Tax increases on carbon mean higher gas prices and electricity. Unfortunately, these types of taxes are wildly politically unpopular. “This report makes it clear: There is no way to mitigate climate change without getting rid of coal,” said Drew Shindell, a climate scientist at Duke University and an author of the report.

Let’s face it, more expensive electricity and more expensive gas, means major change to how we operate as a world society.  Less dependency on technology, less mobility and less comfort.

The Paris Agreement adopted in 2016 was a massive effort worldwide to help decrease carbon emissions.  The Paris Agreement recommends carbon tax hikes and many world powers, America included, are withdrawing from the agreement due to its stance on carbon tax hikes and coal. America is the second largest carbon emissions offender.

The current administration is abhorrent to the evidence of global warming. The president is even promoting the increased burning of coal and threatens to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. Other major world powers dependent on coal are withdrawing from the agreement.

With midterm elections coming up in November, one of the most powerful things you can do about this is issue is vote.  Vote in candidates that are willing to take the threats posed by carbon emissions seriously. Think about your own use of energy and ways you can conserve. We only have one planet, let’s make sure something is left.